Monday, April 4, 2016

CLAMS AND PEARLS 4.4.16


sister brink is on the far right. mtc morning service.

This week was fun! 
Went on splits with my old companion sister Brink from the MTC ..that basically was just full of old men in brightly colored underwear opening doors...yelling at us...then slamming their doors... Met a super cute old lady though which is all I wanted so mission accomplished. 
It was actually really the first time I've tracted on my mission. So it was super fun to be with sister Brink for that. We just laughed the entire time. There were some weird people....It was pretty hilarious. 


That night we had dinner with Yaroslav, usually Irina is there but she was at a singles conference in Göteborg. She showed up at the end of dinner and just says 
"Sister giiiillessss I have a surprise for youuuu" 
So I get up from the table and walk to the front room 
AND PETER SJÖKVIST 
AND PREDRAG SIMOVSKI 
ARE BOTH JUST STANDING THERE. WHAT. 
Sidenote: they are basically my mission dads. I loooove them. They really took care of me in my first area Gävle. I haven't seen them in over a year. 
I was so so so surprised. 
It was so amazing. 
Great kick off to the week. 

Speaking of kicks. 
I got kicked a ton on Monday. Our zones got together to play football and the field was SOOO muddy .... We were sliding everywhere. I cannot even count the amount of times I slipped and fell. We were just running into eachother and flipping around. 
There are some elders teaching a pro football player from Compton so it was really fun to have him on my team (thank goodness) plus he knew exactly where Manhattan beach was and stuff. So that was cool. Especially since he has a baptismal date. I think he thought it was really cool to meet a Mormon from LA county. 
I nominated, then voted, then designated myself as coach and gave some pretty good motivational speeches. 
My team. Was awesome. 
By the end of the day, we had only lost twice, pet a giant Norwegian forester cat, a lady had fallen out of her wheelchair into the mud, and I had gotten kicked 11 times in the shin. Totally worth it. 

The next day I got the news I would be moving to Västerhaninge for 10 days into a tripan since sister Svensson is leaving 10 days before the transfer. So that was exciting...but then we started thinking logically about how long it takes to get to Västerhaninge since I'll be working in Hägersten at the same time and it just wasn't workin in my brain...so I talked to pres on Saturday and told him why I thought I should be in gubbängen and he agreed. So I'll be going to gubbängen for 10 days in a tripan with sisters bourell (Canadian) and hikkola (Finnish) 
A black girl, a Canadian, and a Finn walk into a bar......
We've just got all sorts of crazy. 
Basically it's going to be probably the craziest 10 days of my life. 
I'm excited though. I think it's like a perfect pause between the transfers. A little break to work in a different area, meet new people, recharge.. Getting ready for the final blowout. 


CONFERENCE WEEKEND
So. Awesome. 
I think what was said was what a lot of people I love needed to hear. I needed to hear a lot of it. 
I felt like these sessions were just filled with ultimate love for us. That's all it was. I love that they talked about repentance and including others. It was just perfect. We went to patriks house on Saturday to watch the sessions there and loved that. Just a couple of us but the spirit was so strong. I asked if we could pray before starting to watch so he asked me to pray and I could hardly get words out. 
My heart has been feeling super broken the past week. Broken for many different things and right then it just was breaking. 
President Thomas S Monson is an amazing leader. And it's really hard to see him so ..frail. 
Kinda scary. 
But he is. 
I just prayed that over the weekend he would find the strength to revelate. I'm sure everyone was praying for that. We got so blessed to hear from him for minutes at a Time. What a blessing. 
There also was a pattern of faith and trust. 

I think that faith is one of the most simply complicated principles of the gospel. 
It is the first principle of the gospel. Deemed to be simple, yet as it grows, I feel it becomes more challenging to retain...more fragile...becomes possibly an object that we assume we can just place away in our pocket, or maybe into an intricately crafted silver music box given to us by our great grandma. 
It becomes carefully, lovingly, safely, tucked away. 
Only to be, every once in a while, glanced at, while polishing our hiding place. 
Solemnly taken out...and when taken out, only to show proof of ownership. 
Faith is like a muscle. 
It can only grow or diminish and if you are not working on it, it by default, wastes away. 
It comes to a point where we mistakingly misplace that music box..and the search to find it becomes long, and sometimes painful. 
Sometimes it takes a loving friend, spouse, or leader to open our music box..it then becomes our job to listen to the quiet chiming, gears working..to lead us back to it. 
To lead us back to our faith. 

My whole childhood was spent by the sea.
I remember whenever coming across a clam, immediately hoping and wishing there to be a small precious pearl inside. 
After efforts of trying to get them open while sitting on the wet sand near the water, I would give up. 
I remember one time I was with my dad, I turned around and found him sitting with his giant Chinese rice plantation weaved Sunhat (obviously), his blue board shorts (the one with the tan on the sides), long white socks (classic), and white tennis shoes 
"Omg dad. Take off your shoes"
Anyways. 
He was sitting there with Melody Hales. I had to have been like maybe 7 years old. 
I took like three clams up to them and just told them I wanted to keep them to see if there was a pearl inside. 
My father, lovingly took the clams from my hand, stood up and ..
Chucked them far into the water. 
"Foolish child." 
He said, 
" if you take these home they'll stink to high heaven" 
And now you understand my childhood. 
Everyone knows my dad, so obviously…. I’m kidding. 
No one chucked my clams away. But they did forbid me to take them home hahaha
(still did. And they were so right) (my hands smelled terrible) 
Anyways. 
I was always looking for the pearls. 
Smashing them open in all sorts of ways. Even up until I was like 19 I was still taking urchins and clams home and putting them in chlorine or bleach. (I got smarter) 
I have seen on my mission how I have reverted back to the finding and opening of clams.. 
A pearl is small, beautiful, precious..so is our faith. 
I feel as if I have been opening clams over and over and over again, trying to find that pearl. It's incredible to see how it seems like the hope that I will find the pearl grows stronger with every clam I open, and the desire...that just grows stronger too. 
I'm infatuated with the things of the sea. My family and anyone close to me knows, I love tide pools. Octopi, Seastars, sea slugs...this oasis for all these incredible creatures ..SO SO different from any other creatures on the planet. 
I compare myself to them. Sometimes I have felt like a seastar tossed into a herd of buffalo. 
Two total opposite creations. 
Yet...I feel like the buffalos are probably looking for the same pearls that I am..
and honestly, who knows better where to find a clam, than a seastar. 
My tiny child hands couldn't pry open a clam..and my adult hands no matter how much I workout, could probably never pry one open either. 
Yet. 
A sea star, the size of my palm..emits incredible strength and patience and uses all its ability to pop the clams open..it's life depends on it...and I'm almost positive, Seastars find pearls, all the time. 
Do not cease your desire to find the pearl. 
Even when all you open are empty clams.. 
Remember that a clam starts the process with just a single grain of ordinary sand. Mixed with saliva and pressure it works for years to create a brilliantly smooth treasure..
Find your music box. 
Let it take us home to the God who has given us life. 
I have the gift of wonder and of hope. 
I will never stop being amazed by the simple creations of this life. 
Tide pools, sunrises and sunsets, and remembering the snow on the trees..
I love this planet. 
I love that it has been created for us to enjoy. 
I love that we are all learning. 
I love the concept of humility and love. That prayer brings both ...and when we include our Heavenly Father in the innermost workings of our hearts, that he embeds himself in them...to grace us with enlightenment, and a desire to become all that he wants us to become. 
He. Loves. Us. 
He is our father. 
In times of need, he trusts us to trust HIM. 

I love my family. They are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can't believe I am so lucky. I've got THE coolest siblings. 
like wow. 
They are so. Cool. 
They're my heroes and my role models. All of them. Every single one of them. 
We will be best friends forever. 
We will struggle together, laugh together, cry together, but ultimately I KNOW in my head and in my heart that we are going to succeed together. 
Stay strong. The world is getting more evil by the hour and we need to be strong for each other. 
I love you guys. 
Till next week :)

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